We went on Big Beards 1/2 day morning trip. The morning we went it was pretty calm on the ocean and we had a peaceful ride to Buck Island. The 1st stop is at a gorgeous beach with white sand and very calm, gentle waves lapping up on the beach. There's nothing to see snorkeling here but the crew wants everyone to get acquainted with their snorkeling gear here before bringing them to the other side of the island for snorkeling the reef. The calm side is worth the $90 alone, however, if you just want a beach as beautiful as this on St. Croix make a trip to Sandy Point beach (only open Saturdays and Sundays) and it's JUST as beautiful if not more. Anyway- once we traveled by boat to the other side of the island you are required to just jump right in the water as there's no place to calm walk in the ocean there. If you have never snorkeled before I would personally not recommend this trip unless you are a confident swimmer. You are given life jackets but the water is just a little rougher on this side. I was fine...I've snorkeled probably 15 times in my life and I feel confident in the water. There are lots of neat fish to see and the reef is interesting to see underwater. I think perhaps the Big Beard captain put the fear of God in everyone when he very intensely said DO NOT GO OUTSIDE THE REEF, DO NOT GO OVER THE REEF, DON'T TOUCH THE REEF, IT IS DANGEROUS!!! Etc., Etc. So I think everyone was a little shaken by the seriousness of his tone and we all didn't know what we were in for. I appreciated his safety concerns and understand completely but because of his intense warnings I probably didn't trek out as far on my own as I normally would have because I didn't want to be the one who broke the rules and got in a bad situation in the ocean. Overall, it was cool, we saw nurse sharks, a baracudda and many colorful tropical fish. We snorkeled for about 15-20 minutes total...which doesn't seem like much but we were satisfied with what we saw. I'm glad I did the excursion overall and would have been disappointed without that portion of my trip. Also, I would recommend only doing the 1/2 day trip - there's no point in doing a full day unless you want to eat.
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